Choosing math curriculum has got to be one of the hardest parts of homeschooling. Okay, actually doing math lessons every day is probably harder! But it’s difficult to keep from thinking that if we only had a better/different/new curriculum all our math woes would be gone. Everyone would understand and complete their lessons with minimal effort and drama. In reality, the best math curriculum is the one that gets done, the one that doesn’t end in tears every day. When the tears start, the learning has stopped. And the right curriculum is going to be different for different children.
When my daughter entered kindergarten, we purchased Miquon Math. It was a simple program that I hoped would lend structure to our math explorations without bringing long assignments to complete. It was a small investment that we could replace if it wasn’t a good fit. Four years on we are beginning the 3rd and final year, and it’s been an excellent fit.
We love the way the workbooks look. There are no bells and whistles, no cartoon characters. Each page is printed in a single, different color. It’s simple and clean and doesn’t distract from the work at hand.
We do a page or so every day. The lessons are short enough that there’s time for exploring math through money or cooking without feeling like we need to get back to the workbook. The books are written for 1st-3rd grade. We start slowly during the second half of the kinder year. We are technically a little behind now, starting out 3rd grade, but we’ve preserved peace and continued learning.
Miquon uses Cuisenaire Rods manipulatives. On days when there is work with the rods, the whole family likes to play with them. The picture above is a sculpture that my son made of Lizzie from Pride and Prejudice crossing a stile! We also love the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book. Math is individual skill work, but even the youngest can sit at the table and play with the blocks. This keeps the family learning project humming.
The workbooks (or lab sheets as Miquon calls them) are very inexpensive. The entire set of 6 lab books and a book of explanations and answer key called Lab Sheet Annotations is only $60. That’s just $20 a year. Additionally, you’ll need to purchase Cuisenaire Rods, but the price is unbeatable.
Keep In Mind
Miquon Math works a little differently from a traditional textbook.
- The books are full of worksheets. There is no explanation given for completing them. For the more complex pages, there notes in Lab Sheet Annotations.
- The books are presented by operation: all the addition pages for the year come first, then all the subtraction pages. You sometimes have to skip around to create coherent, varied lessons.
- The books only go through 3rd grade. I’m not looking forward to switching math programs because any curriculum that we choose will have it’s own learning curve.
For us, Miquon has been a gentle introduction to the world of mathematics, helping our children to build habits of careful work without creating math anxiety or undue stress